“The strategic map we are following is simple enough: provide unfettered access to funds and freelance jobs to the informal sector. This can only be done effectively through an online platform and a peer-to-peer system that is not dependent on governmental bureaucracy. Jobs. Seed capital. Online. Peer-to-peer.” – Prof. F. Umesiri.
Like the rest of the world, African countries have been hit hard by economic difficulties resulting from Covid-19 lock-down. Now, a Nigerian-born American professor, Dr. F. Umesiri, is spearheading poverty alleviation initiatives for Africa’s informal business sector through an online platform called Naijiria.com, which is a connecting platform for freelance jobs, seed capital for small businesses, and eCommerce.
CHICAGO, Ill. – June 24, 2020 – African countries, like the rest of the world, have been hit hard by economic difficulties resulting from Covid-19 lockdown. Now, a Nigerian-born American professor, Dr. F. Umesiri, is providing poverty alleviation initiatives for Africa’s informal business sector through an online platform called Naijiria.com
Prof. Umesiri, who emigrated from Nigeria about 17 years ago and is now an associate professor at a private national university in the US, was moved by stories of suffering from people back home, so much that he decided that there must be something he and other diaspora Africans can do to help. According to him, “Listening to, and watching, the news coming out of Nigeria and other African countries, it became apparent to us that something has to be done to help individuals within the informal sector to rebuild their lives after Covid-19 lock-down. Therefore, we envisioned an economic empowerment platform that does not rely on governments to help Africans. The result is Naijiria.com, a connecting platform for jobs and funds in Africa. Anyone who knows anything about Africa, knows that lack of capital and jobs have always been the major challenges to African growth and development. Naijiria.com was founded to bridge this critical gap, especially as the world tries to forge ahead after the devastating effects of COVID-19 and battered economies.”
He continued, “The strategic map we are following is simple enough: provide unfettered access to funds and freelance jobs to the informal sector. This can only be done effectively through an online platform and a peer-to-peer system that is not dependent on governmental bureaucracy. Jobs. Seed capital. Online. Peer-to-peer.”
Therefore, he teamed up with a local company in Nigeria to launch Naijiria.com platform, providing strategic and technical services. As a platform, Naijiria.com functions primarily as a digital marketplace with the mission to facilitate Poverty Alleviation through Investment and Development (PAID) – by providing African informal sector with access to freelance jobs, seed capital for small businesses and artisans through reward-based crowdfunding, and online shopping platform to sell products. Covid-19 has done a lot of damage. There is growing sense of urgency that for economic opportunity to materialize for its teaming populace, Africa will have to provide job, funding, and commerce (online & offline) opportunities, especially for the informal sector.
Interestingly, all three services are provided free of charge to Africans. All individuals have to do to qualify is to complete a simple registration form on Naijiria.com, choose which of the three programs they want and get started right away. The platform supports its operation by deducting a small percentage from transactions made on the site. The key initiatives include:
SEED CAPITAL FOR SMALL BUSINESSES:
Prof. Umesiri insists that funding is central to catalyzing economic growth for the informal sector. Therefore, an important piece of the platform is that it connects local businesses in need of funds with Africans in diaspora who are willing to invest. It appears that the brilliance behind the platform is this unique collaboration between diaspora Africans with local businesses and artisans. It is relatively easier for an African in US, Canada, Europe, for example, to part with $1000 to $5000, as an investment. Yet, that amount is enough to get a local fish farmer, online startup, or petty trader get started in business in Nigeria. Diaspora investors get the joy of making a difference while making small profits. Potential investors in diaspora may register interest in the program here.
FREELANCE JOB PLATFORM:
Africa is brimming with bright, talented, and educated workforce. These are individuals ready and eager to work for businesses online at very affordable rates compared to rates for Asian-outsourced tasks for example. Everything from website design, digital marketing, social media marketing, video/film editing, graphics etc. The freelance Platform provides a place for talented African youths to render services to local and international businesses and be paid – online, any time, from the comfort of their home. It connects African talents with local and international businesses who need those services. Again, it is free to register and list any service for sale on the freelance platform of Naijiria.com
ECOMMERCE STORE TO SELL ONLINE:
Finally, Naijiria.com makes it possible for any African to sell products or services online without worrying about website design, hosting, payment processing etc. Naijiria.com platform provides a free online store space and equips your store with all you need to sell online, so that you can focus on making sales, shipping your products, and satisfying your customers.
Although this service is available to all Africans, the pilot stage is focused on Nigeria primarily. However, the goal is to reach out to other African markets in the near future.